Less Baggage, New Luggage: A New Year's Resolution for 2019

train-ride-to-naples.jpg

IN 2018, Donya and I bought new luggage. We did so because we had big plans to see places we had never seen. First, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine...and then Rome!

Looking back on the year that has been and looking ahead at the year to come, the places we saw and experienced and the things we have yet to savor, has me thinking about what a revelation a simple resolution can be. So, if you are thinking about what lies ahead and how you will tackle it, I have a New Year's resolution for you to consider....

Lose the baggage

So much of our journey is hampered by the baggage we carry through life - the failures, the disappointments, the broken promises, the dying embers of the dreams of youth, the unrealized potential, the unrecognized effort...

It is easy to become overwhelmed, to sink into the slough of despondency, to whittle away on the stick of do-nothing because you tried to do something once and it didn't work out, to run from love because someone broke your heart, to settle for what is because you fear the failure that might accompany what could be.

Then there is guilt. Sometimes, I feel like David who once cried in despair, "I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me!" (Psalm 51:3)

How can I ever be what I ought to be when I know what I have been? how can I ever be right when I have done so wrong in the past?

First, let's get this much straight: It is in the past, right? You have confessed it and forsaken it. You have sought forgiveness. You have desired restoration. Then drop the baggage! What is done is done. It cannot be undone, but it can be overcome. You have been forgiven - by the One who knows how to forgive and forget!

The LORD is compassionate and merciful,

slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us,

nor remain angry forever.

He does not punish us for all our sins;

he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him

is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

He has removed our sins as far from us

as the east is from the west.

Psalm 104:8-12

Hey, guess who wrote that??? Your boy, David! The one who struggled with the past in chapter 51 found relief and release by chapter 103 of his beautiful hymn book.

Don't be silly, hitchhiker.

Years ago, I heard the issue of sinful baggage compared to a hitchhiker carrying a heavy backpack. When a kind traveler offered him a ride in his brand new car, the hitchhiker accepted but he kept his backpack on his back. It made for a most uncomfortable and awkward ride.

When the driver told him he could lay his backpack in the back seat behind him, the weary walker replied, "Oh, I couldn't ask you to give me and my baggage a lift.

Silly, right? Of course it is. Imagine Jesus is at the wheel. He says, Put the baggage behind you. I lifted it at Calvary. Hop in."

Lose. The. Baggage. A new year awaits.

Grab the luggage

St-Peters-Square.jpg

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City

You will never go anywhere new if you refuse to leave the old, familiar haunts. Maybe 2018 was a tough year for you. Perhaps, rather than sprinting victoriously to December 31, you are dragging your heels, tattered, torn, haggard, tired, disillusioned, disappointed, just glad to be done with it.

I understand. I do. But, now lies before you a brand new year ready to be explored, waiting to be lived - not all at once, but a moment at a time. Leave the baggage of 2018, grab your luggage, and prepare your heart for a brand new adventure. Love bigger, risk more, stretch yourself, venture out. Dare to be disappointed or you will never live to be delighted.

I am resolved

My resolution for 2019: "I will lose the baggage, grab my luggage and venture into new adventures. I will live because the giver of life has given His life to give me a new life, a hope, and a future."

What, my friend, are you resolved to do?